Towards the end of 1966, a very worried general manager paced his office. Four young men from various areas of station were liable for call-up under the then two-year-old compulsory selective National Service scheme.
The National Service Act required 20-year-old men who had been called up to serve in the Army for two years, followed by three years in the Reserve. The Defence Act was amended in May 1965 to provide that conscripts could be obliged to serve overseas, and in March 1966, the government announced that National Servicemen would be sent to Vietnam to fight in units of the Australian Regular Army.
Registration was compulsory and a ballot determined who would be called up. The ballot was conducted using a lottery barrel, with marbles representing birthdays.
In the second half of 1966 John Hill (technical/video and audio switching), Paul Erbacher, (production), Bob Pounds (news) and John McLeod (technical/video and audio switching) all faced the same ballot.
You can imagine the GM's consternation if all four were to be called up - four from a total staff of 34, about one-eighth of the total. If that happened and replacements could not be easily obtained, the operations of the station might be in jeopardy.
In the end, all four missed out, though in later ballots, others were not so lucky.
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